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Special waited a full fifteen minutes after Ianchelle had turned off her bedroom light before she snuck into the kitchen. She got out the bowl and wooden spoon from the last time she had made the paper mushies and set them on the counter. She grabbed seven more bowls so that she could make multiple batches of the papier-mâché paste at once. Getting the water over to the play spot was going to be the most difficult part. There was a gallon pitcher that Ianchelle used in the summer to make lemonade. She would even use real lemons, much to the delight of Special. Finding the pitcher was imperative.

Special knelt and dug around in the cupboards, quietly, of course. She found the pitcher in one of the bottom cabinets. It had gotten pushed to the back. A rolling pin that was set on top of a Tupperware set crashed down and rolled onto the kitchen floor. She zipped her head to the side, sure to see her mama standing there with her hands on her hips, wondering what in tarnation she was up to at this hour.

But nobody was there.

She sighed and stuck her head back into the cabinet. There were all kinds of stuff in there that she had never seen: a fluted mold cake pan, an old coffee maker, a butter dish made to look like corn on the cob. She vowed to go through everything one day to see what they all had. She reached forward and grabbed hold of the pitcher and pulled it out. The rolling pin was set back into the cupboard and the doors were shut. 

Special filled the pitcher with lukewarm water from the sink. Once full, the pitcher weighed a whopping eight pounds. She used both hands to carry it over to the door, legs wobbling side-to-side rather than one in front of the other. She set the bowl and spoon next to it, as well as a container full of flour. She had never come up with a specific number of paper mushies necessary for getting rid of Shawn. All she knew was that she needed a lot of them. Better to bring too much rather than too little.

The last thing she did was put a little note on her door, just in case her mama decided to wander in her room and find her missing.

went to play spot with Mr. Potmis

be back very soon don’t worry

love, Special

She felt a chill run up her spine upon walking outside. It wasn’t from the temperature (although it was a tad cold—thankfully she had put on a sweatshirt); it was from nerves. It was one thing to have a crazy idea like making an army of paper things to stop Shawn. It was another to step outside and know that you were about to make that idea come to light. Having those nerves wasn’t all bad. It was thrilling what she was doing. Electrifying, even. But there was fear too, and that was the part she wished she could control. Fear seemed to dominate all of her other feelings, choking and squeezing them until it was the only thing left. The why’s and what if’s flew around her head like a cluster of gnats.

What if the paper mushies didn’t want to scare Shawn? 

What if Shawn didn’t get scared of them when he saw them? 

What if he stomped on them and cut them into little pieces? 

What if he taunted her for coming up with such a silly idea? 

What if?

Scary times.

Exciting times.

It was going to be a long night.

She loaded up the wagon with all of the supplies and pushed forward. She went slow in order not to tip over the pitcher. The water swished back and forth like the waves of Lake Huron. The spoon vibrated inside of the bowl, making more of a racket than she would have preferred.

The ground was mushy, still damp from the morning rain. The soles of her shoes were beginning to grow a thick ring of mud around the edges. Each step felt heavier than the last. The wheels of the wagon were starting to get wider too, chocked full of mud. The journey to her play spot had never been this difficult, but there was no urge to turn back. She had a job to do. She just needed to remember to take off her shoes when she got back.

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